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Cupping, an alternative medicine for pain and blemishes

Cupping is a therapeutic practice that is part of alternative medicine. It is carried out through a technique called sucking or aspiration in particular in some anatomical points of the body.

This suction practice is carried out with special jars that are applied to the skin and is aimed at promoting health and well-being. It should be practiced only and exclusively by certified operators in specialized centers.

But let’s find out how it is practiced and what health or aesthetic problems can reduce this technique.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a therapeutic practice of  alternative medicine which involves the sucking of certain areas of the human body and which uses special jars for this purpose that are skillfully placed on the skin.


The technique of distant origins must be performed by certified personnel and expert hands, it is not a do-it-yourself technique.

This technique seems to be beneficial in the treatment of some painful forms such as  migraine ,  sciatica ,  back pain , it can be a relief in cases of anxiety or depression and also help to counteract aesthetic problems such as cellulite .

At the moment, however, it should be emphasized that no scientific study has proven that it has a real therapeutic effect.


Origins of Cupping

The origins of this technique are very ancient, just think that traces of it can be found in the oldest medical texts still present today, dating back to Ancient Egypt in 1550 BC.

It comes from China, where it was introduced around the second century AD in the major centers of traditional Chinese medicine .

Even today the practice is not widespread in the West, but it is practiced more frequently in the East. Perhaps someone remembers some European and American swimmers at the Rio Olympics in 2010 with the characteristic circular spots on their backs that gave popularity and spread this technique to the general public.

Types of Cupping

There are several types. The three most common are the following:

Wet cupping. It is a form of aspiration that can cause even a small leak of blood and hence the term wet. During the execution the therapist removes the suction jars and practices in the areas that were previously affected by the suction, small incisions. The jars are then reapplied to the same skin areas and sucking again. At the end of the treatment, an antibiotic-effect solution or cream is applied and a bandage is placed to avoid forms of infection.

Dry cupping. This type of practice involves the creation of a low pressure zone at the level of the skin area, on which the therapist applies the jars. There are no incisions.

Mobile cupping. It involves moving the jars during the course of the treatment. In order to be able to comfortably move the jars, the therapist must first lubricate the skin with an oil.

The type to be performed is usually evaluated by the therapist after studying the person’s pathologies.

The jars for Cupping

Usually 3 to 5 jars are used per session. They can be made of glass, bamboo, terracotta, plastic or silicone.

It is the therapist who chooses the type in relation to the pathology or imperfection to be treated.

  • Chinese  cup is usually a ceramic or bamboo cup with a diameter of 5 cm, which is applied to certain specific points of the body to obtain a healing effect for certain pathologies.
  • Cup widespread in the West is usually made of plastic or silicone and is mainly used to reactivate the microcirculation, oxygenate the tissues, drain liquids to reduce annoying pads on the legs and cellulite.

Cupping: What is it for

As stated, this alternative medicine technique is still not recognized in the scientific field.
However, those who practice it claim that this can help those suffering from:

  • migraine and headache
  • rheumatic diseases
  • hypertension
  • sciatica
  • bronchial asthma
  • vene varicose
  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • fertility disorders and gynecological diseases
  • feeling of tiredness and recurrent fatigue
  • anxiety and depression

How Cupping Works

Why should it work? The explanation lies in the fact that the aspiration of an area of ​​the skin of the body would determine a series of events such as:

  • an increased supply of blood and lymph
  • the release of soft tissues and connective tissues
  • a more effective elimination of waste  and toxins  from the cells of the body.

In practice, aspiration would favor lymphatic and blood circulation and the consequent elimination of toxins. Eliminating toxins means giving benefits and well-being to the body.

cupping work

How to Prepare for the Practice

Before undergoing the treatment, a thorough physical examination and a careful medical history must be done.

Often, before practicing alternative medicine, it is necessary to make sure that our health is excellent. In particular, the preparatory exams can:

  • attest to good health
  • to understand the reasons that lead to this choice
  • help plan where on the body it is best to apply the jars

Suction Technique

The technique applied and the way to do the aspiration with the jars is a choice of the therapist.

It is important that the jars favor the flow of blood and lymph and for this purpose it is essential to create the vacuum inside.

To get the vacuum inside these two techniques are performed:

  • the heating and cooling of the air contained inside the jar.
  • a special mechanical pump .

The jars must be applied for a non-fixed time which can range from only 3 to 15 minutes. This is also something that the therapist values.

Cupping Against Cellulite

The so-called slim cup or cell cap is increasingly widespread and easily available online : these are anti-cellulite cups that refer to this ancient Chinese technique and are used only for the treatment of cellulite.

The anti-cellulite cup must be in electro-medical silicone, no other material is suitable. Easy to use to make a do-it-yourself massage, the cupping massage, which helps to remove stagnant liquids and reactivate blood circulation, thus reducing the imperfections of cellulite or orange peel skin.

Benefits of the Anti-Cellulite Cup

This cup would bring benefits to the affected area, in particular:

  • makes the skin more compact because it helps to restore the microcirculation and allows a greater influx of blood
  • reduces water retention because it has a draining action and allows you to eliminate excess fluids
  • prevents inflammation by eliminating toxins and oxygenating the tissues.
Anti-Cellulite Cup (2)

How to Use the Anti-Cellulite Cup

It has the effects of a lymphatic drainage massage . Here’s how it is used:

  • squeeze the cup between your fingers
  • place it on the skin in the area to be treated
  • let go of the pressure to create the suction and produce the vacuum inside the cup, so that the suction causes the skin to rise.

Tips for Anti-Cellulite Cupping

  • Before proceeding with the treatment it is recommended to prepare the skin with a massage oil. Birch oil is recommended .
  • The cup must be perfectly clean
  • The massage is performed from the bottom up on the legs and with circular movements for the buttocks and thighs
  • Repeat the treatment consistently to see results: usually 3 times a week
  • The treatment is not recommended for those suffering from varicose veins , hypertension, coagulation diseases or skin problems.

Cupping on the Face

Facial cupping, or  facial cupping , is a treatment that is performed with smaller and more delicate cups.

As with the anti-cellulite cupping, these cups are also made of silicone.

Facial cupping

What is the Use of Facial Cupping

Practiced over time, it has some positive effects such as:

  • rejuvenation of tissues that receive more oxygen
  • firmer and brighter skin because collagen production is stimulated
  • more toned areas of the face
  • fewer imperfections and less wrinkles
  • decongestant and detoxifying effect with reduction of dark circles and bags under the eyes

Preparation of the Face for Facial Cupping

Before proceeding with facial cupping , the skin of the face must be thoroughly cleansed. The cups should be applied by a specialist and held for approximately 15 minutes.

Small cups are expected but there may remain some marks caused by the blood being ‘sucked’. It is temporary, but the advice is always to undergo this technique only if the operator is certified.

Cupping Contraindications

This technique has some contraindications. It must be practiced after having performed all the required medical tests and only at specialized centers. However, it is contraindicated in cases of:

  • heart failure
  • kidney failure
  • bleeding disorders , such as haemophilia or allergic purpura
  • obesity or excessive thinness
  • dermatosis
  • severe psoriasis
  • bone fractures
  • sunburn
  • skin wounds still healing
  • varicose veins and venous insufficiency
  • pregnancy
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